Category Archives: Databases

Trial to OpenEdition Freemium for E-Books


The Columbia University Libraries currently have trial access to OpenEdition’s Freemium platform for e-books until December 31st, 2014.

OpenEdition Freemium is a program for the development of open access academic publishing in the humanities and social sciences. This partnership aims to create an innovative and sustainable economic model. All income generated by the program is reinvested in the further development of open access academic publishing.

The platform disseminates open access content – journals, books, research blogs and academic announcements – complemented by premium services and formats available exclusively to institutions and their users. Freemium content is available to all Internet users in open access HTML format, while users of partner institutions (like Columbia) can download the PDF and ePub formats. No DRM or download quotas are applied.

The materials are mostly in English and French but include other European languages and cover broad disciplinary areas in the humanities and social sciences.

To access this platform, go to

  • username: columbia
  • password: x7UtAq36 (case-sensitive)

For any questions or feedback, please contact Meredith Levin,, Western European Humanities Librarian.

Database Trial: Loeb Classical Library

Please take the opportunity to view:

Loeb Classical Library

The digital Loeb Classical Library extends this mission into the twenty-first century. Harvard University Press is honored to renew James Loeb’s vision of accessibility, and presents an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing, virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature



Access: IP

Please forward comments and evaluation remarks to Karen Green (

The trial will run through November 17, 2014.

New Database: Forbes Archive, 1917-2000

The Forbes Archive contains indexing, abstracting, and full text for the complete archive of Forbes, beginning with its first issue in 1917 and ending in December 2000.   The archive includes every issue cover to cover, though it does not appear that the advertisements are indexed in the full text search.

Forbes, B. C. "The Wife's Place in Business." Forbes 1.5 (Nov 1917): 228ff.

Forbes, B. C. “The Wife’s Place in Business.” Forbes 1.5 (Nov 1917): 228ff.

New Database: PBS Video Collection

The PBS Video Collection assembles hundreds of documentary films and series from the Public Broadcasting Service, including Frontline, NOVA, American Experience, Odyssey, as well as films by Ken Burns and Michael Wood.   This streaming collection from Alexander Street Press includes full transcripts.

PBS Video Collection

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Science, Technology and Medicine: 1780-1925

Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO): Science, Technology, and Medicine, 1780-1925, part II was recently added to the Columbia University Libraries.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online

This second part of the Science Technology and Medicine collection includes some three million pages of scientific material from the late seventeenth century through the first quarter of the twentieth century, with a primary focus on the nineteenth century.

Collections include:

  • Academies of Science Publications
  • Entomology
  • Natural History
  • Rise of Public Health in England and Wales

These complement the material in the first Science, Technology, and Medicine collection which include:

  • Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia: Minutes and Correspondence
  • American Medical Periodicals
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Civil Engineering
  • Color Theory and Practice
  • Electricity and Electromagnetism
  • Evolution and Origin of Species
  • Mathematics
  • Reports of Explorations Printed in the Documents of the United States Government
  • Scientific and Technical Periodicals from the Royal Society of London’s Catalogue of Scientific Papers

If you have a questions about this database, or any other research question, please visit, call, email or text us.

Database Trial: LGBT Thought and Culture

LGBT Thought and Culture is a new Alexander Street Press database which includes texts, letters, speeches, interviews, and ephemera covering the political evolution of gay rights as well as memoirs, biographies, poetry, and works of fiction that illuminate the lives of lesbians, gays, transgendered, and bisexual individuals and the community.

Our trial subscription to LGBT Thought and Culture ends on April 28, 2014.

Please send comments or questions to Sarah Witte, Gender and Women's Studies Librarian, at

Database Trial: Numerique Premium


We are currently trialing a new database of French e-books, Numérique Premium, through April 12, 2014. The collection contains nearly 850 full-text titles in a variety of fields, including history, religion, philosophy, politics, literature/literary theory, film, and architecture. Publishers include:  Belles Lettres, Canadian Scholars Press, CNRS éditions, ENS éditions, Gallimard,Flammarion, Nouveau Monde, Picard, Presses universitaires de McGill, Association française pour la recherche en histoire du cinéma, Association des Professeurs d’Histoire-Géographie, Société des études robespierristes, Fondation Napoléon, Fondation Charles de Gaulle, Institut Napoléon…

This resource is currently only available on-campus until April 12, 2014. Please send any comments or questions to Meredith Levin, Western European Humanities Librarian, at

Bonne Lecture!!!

Online Music Scores

We're of course delighted when you visit the Music & Arts Library (701 Dodge) to browse and check out items from our extensive collection of printed music scores. But, there are those times that you may need some music in a pinch, or when we're closed. For those times, the availability of online scores can be very useful, and the Libraries make available several collections of online scores (also identified by the term "sheet music").

Here's a listing of the various collections which are currently available to full-time Columbia affiliates through the Libraries (these links will take you to the CLIO record for the database; click on the URL in the record to connect):

Classical Scores Library — "a collection of digitized scores of important classical music, manuscripts, and unpublished material."

Naxos Music Library. Sheet Music — "digital sheet music in all classical genres, spanning music from Medieval to the 21st century and composers from Bach to Arvo Part." This Naxos database also offers a downloadable software utility which can be used to transpose some content from one key into another (a feature often useful for singers), and to adjust printing options.

A-R Editions' Online Music Anthology — "a database of music scores containing representative vocal and instrumental compositions from antiquity through the nineteenth century."

Outside of these online resources available through the Libraries, mention must be made of the important and open online resource International Music Scores Library Project (IMSLP). This public project, established in 2006, states its primary goal as:

"… to gather all public domain music scores, in addition to the music scores of all contemporary composers (or their estates) who wish to release them to the public free of charge."

Over the last few years, this project has truly blossomed into a very valuable resource, including not only scores but also performance parts, audio recordings, and some commentary and analysis. It's interesting to note that IMSLP, the open resource, has a far larger volume of content than the subscription services mentioned above – but, not for in-copyright materials (one likely reason for the difference).

Note that there are many options for browsing and searching scores, and recordings can also be browsed, by composer or performer, via a link in the left sidebar. RSS feeds are available to keep track of new additions. Another interesting feature is the "Search By Melody" function, that allows users to input a melody string to search, using a pop-up keyboard. For the adventurous, a "score similarity" algorithm will attempt to match features of scores in the database, to find "similar" works.

Of course, as with any open-source project, there are always concerns with editorial control, and the editions available on the site range from scholarly editions to self-published arrangements with no explicit editorial responsibility or details. So, scrutinize your options carefully when choosing content. That said, there is a wealth of quality material which can be a lifesaver when you just need that score or part, for reference or for performance. And, you'll also find scans of rare or obscure repertoire, both in published editions and in manuscript.

Lastly, many libraries are now mounting extensive collections of digitized scores and sheet music, much of which is under public domain, for world-wide access. Many of these are concerted, scholarly efforts (for an example, see the Digital Mozart Edition) which warrant their own post, so stay tuned for an overview of those collections in a future post!

Confidential Print Online


Defenses of Tobruk, 1940, from Confidential Print: Africa

The Library has recently acquired online versions of the Confidential Print series, a collection of British government documents.  Beginning in the late 1820's, the British government began printing copies of important correspondence from diplomatic and consular officials (including letters, telegrams, policy documents, and reports) which were then circulated to Foreign Office and Cabinet officials, and to British missions overseas to keep these officials informed about the important issues.  These series were printed up to about the 1970's, when, according to the British National Archives, the photocopy machine arrived.  The original documents are in the British National Archives, but the Confidential Print, to quote from a review of the North American Series are "a selection from what was often a vast swathe of material …It is not the full, unabridged story [but] there is no doubt that an early trawl of the relevant Confidential Print series is a must for anyone setting out to investigate British or Colonial policy."

The online series are North America: Canada, the Caribbean, and the USA (1824-1961); Middle East (1839-1969); Latin America (1833-1969); and Africa (1834-1966).  The series for Europe and for Asia have not been digitized, and, according to the publisher, there are no current plans to do so.  Selected documents from the European and Asian Confidential Prints issued by the Foreign Office have been reprinted (these are more voluminous than the Confidential Print issued by the Colonial Office), and Columbia has these volumes listed in CLIO under the title British documents on foreign affairs–reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print.  There are several series, and they have slightly different call numbers.  The European volumes are especially useful for material relating to the two world wars, since the printed compilations British documents on the origins of the War, dealing with World War I, and Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939 (both available online as Documents on British Policy Overseas) don't have material on wartime activities.

The Confidential Print include much more than diplomatic chit-chat, and looking through some of the documents gives the impression that every British official was sending detailed notes on local conditions, so these documents are a phenomenal resource for economic, social, agricultural, and geographic information.  To take a page at random, this is from The West Africa Correspondence (1889-1901) dealing with Botanical and Forestry Matters

Page 66
Rubber collectors have now to go 15 or 16 days off Ibadan for rubber, beyond the
Protectorate of this Colony. The countries where active rubber working is going on
are the Benin and Akoko forests. Unfortunately we could not proceed to these parts,
which we were made to understand are without the Protectorate of the Colony.
Consequently we did not go further than Owo (a place only three days off Benin), which
we understood is the limit of our Protectorate on that side.
During Our travels through all the above-named towns, we did not only pay attention
to the rubber industry, for which we were sent up, but also spared a little of our
time for noting down and gathering interesting information on things in general, which
we have no doubt will be of some use or benefit to this Department.
As one leaves Lagos, and travelling on the lagoon en route for Epe, Ejinrin, or
Ikorodu, a different and more interesting scenery is at once noticed than what is
generally seen by the inhabitants of Lagos. This is a large and continuous expanse of
virgin forests on the banks of the lagoon, stretching from Ikorodu (2 hours' steam
from Lagos), and continuous up to Benin.
Taking it from Ikorodu, the forest extends inland to Ibadan (three days' journey
off Ikorodu), and joined by the expanse of forests from Epe and Ejinrin, which in parts
are cultivated. Branching off at Jebu Ode and proceeding Ikire way, via Atikori,
there is another larger and more extensive forest to be seen, and continuous with lie
Ife, Ondo, and Ilesa forests which in turn run in with the other Ekiti countries, thus
forming one large extensive range of forest from Atikori right on to Owo, and which,
adjoining the Ikale, Sekiri, and Ijo forests, thus spread on to the lagoon.
The range of forests along the banks of the lagoon, and to a limited extent inland,
is peculiarly grown with Mangrove trees (Id Egba), which are valuable as timber
trees (the wood of which is very hard), and the bark of which is very astringent, and
is valuable for its tanning properties.
Inland the forests, especially Jebu and Ekiti forests, abound in large quantity of
valuable timber trees, which are used by the natives for various purposes, and also
(being ignorant of its value) for firewood.
The various timber trees found in Jebu, Ekiti, and Ibadan forests are numerous.
The following are trees observed, and also the purposes for which they are used: —
Iriko, Afara, Opepe, Otutu, Agono, Apa, Oro, Ayon, Em, Ara, or Opepe, Agbonyin,
Apara, Oro, Bonobono, Ayon, Arere, Idi, Sedun, Ira, Orowo, Akika, or Aka,
Irosun. The Ekitis as a rule have different names from those given by the Yorubas;
as such, it was difficult to get the correct names of the different trees. The general
uses of the above-named trees vary more or less among the different tribes, but we
will simply classify them all according to the general use in the interior.
TABLE of the different uses to which the above-named Trees are put by the Interior People
Trees used for Canoes.
1. Iroko.
2. Arere.
3. Idi.
4. Apa.
5. Ara.
6. Agono.
7. Olutu.
8. Opepe.
Trees used for Doors.
Trees used for House Posts.
Trees need for Motars.'
Trees used for Motar Pencils
Trees used for
Native Bowk.
Trees used for Drums, &c.

We do not deem it necessary to include in the list such trees as are used for
carving idols, warri-bowls, native spoons, &c, because they are more or less very soft,
and, in consequence, cannot stand hard usage.
As our mission and instructions were chiefly in the interest of the rubber industry,
we could not spare time to collect specimens of wood, flowers, leaves, &c, of these
trees, which are very large and high. Consequently we were obliged to return to the
Colony without bringing these specimens.
Page 67
As the general work of interior women and girls is the weaving and dyeing
of cloths, &c, this report will be an incomplete one without the mention of the indigo
plant. There are two kinds of indigo used by the natives for colouring their cloths, &c,
jet black, deep or light blue. The native names under which these two distinct plants
are known are Elu (Lonchocarpus cyanescens) and Sense (Indifofera sp.). A
report on an experiment tried in the former plant (Elu) will be seen in the 29th Report
of the Botanic Station.
Elu is a shrubby tree, the young leaves of which are generally used for extracting
the dye.
This operation is simple. The young leaves are pounded, balled, and then left to
ferment, after which it is well dried, when it can be stored and used whenever required
without any danger of its getting spoilt. When required for dyeing these balls are
steeped in an acid water, and as soon as the water becomes coloured the cloths are then
dipped in and dyed.
This dye is very strong, and we have no doubt that if it can be prepared in a
better way, so as to get out of the leaves the pure dye without any other impurities, a
good and lucrative trade will be started in this direction.
The Sense dye plant is much used by the Ilorins, Tapas, and Hausas.
It takes much longer time to extract the dye matter out of the leaves than Elu
does. The same process is adopted as in the case with Elu.
This plant is a dwarf shrub, of about three species, found plentifullv in the
interior, where it grows wild; but we have no doubt that in course of time, when the
value of such plant is known by all, more attention will be paid to its cultivation,
and not be allowed to waste.
Fibre Plants.
Several fibre plants were seen, both cultivated and wild up country. The commonest
met with are Bolobolo (Urena lobata), Boko, Pineapple, species of Corchorus,
Bowstring Hemp (Sanseviera guineensis).
Of these, Boko, Bolobolo (a white-skinned variety of it) are cultivated in Yorubaland
for their fibrous barks, which are used for tying purposes. Pineapple is also
cultivated all over the Protectorate nearly, though not for its fibre, but more for its
delicious fruit.
Bolobolo, especially the red-skinned variety, is wild and plentiful everywhere is all
waste places, and it would be a grand thing if this valuable fibre plant is taken up and
Already sample of its fibre has been sent by this Government to England in 1886,
where it was reported on to be superior to jute in quality and strength, and would
always command a higher price and a readier market, if it could be shipped regularly
and in good quantity. Ever since that year the matter has dropped entirely, from want
of energy and enterprise to develop the industry.
The Boko plant is found only under cultivation, but there seems to be a brighter
future for it, even than that of Bolobolo, for it is considered by the natives generally to
be much superior in quality and strength than Bolobolo fibre.
The bark of it, as well as that of Bolobolo, is woven into all sorts of ropes by the
The Bowstring Hemp, called Oja Ikoko by interior countries, is found wild more
or less all over the interior countries, especially in forest lands near swamps. The
fibre of this is much more valuable commercially than those of either of the two former,
being worth £40 to £60 a ton if well prepared and cleaned. The natives also extract
its fibres and make it into strings, which they use for leather work. This fibre plant
ought to have a grand future.
The species of Corchorus, though found wild here and there, are not known as
fibre-yielding plants by the natives; consequently thev are not cultivated or put to
any use.
Gum Trees.
On the 25th of June, when we were on our return journey, we received a letter
from the Acting Resident, instructing us to make strict enquiry about the different
gum trees found in the interior forests.